Is it worth it to attain an aviation degree?

Hello, so I’m currently doing college tours and looking at colleges and all the sort. I recently toured one of my top choices and specifically looked at their aviation program, which looks incredible (though their towered airfield with GA, corporate, and commercial is a scary step up from the calm, untowered airfield where I’m at right now :grimacing:).

Speaking with their staff, I found that their Chief Instructor was not all that supportive about the program itself and seemed to echo what I’d read in the past that such a program would be a bit worthless unless you were fully 100% committed to it, and would do little in supporting you should you lose your medical or get furloughed.

My question is, is it ultimately worth it to pursue a degree in aeronautical science while getting my licenses (IR, CPL, CFI, with MER, CFII optional) or is it a better choice to pursue a different degree while getting my licenses and ratings at a school such as the one that I currently attend that could be a fair distance away? Are there a fair amount of jobs that could provide a safety net should I get forloughed or lose my medical (my own aviation teacher at my school is a recent graduate from this very college, but didn’t want the airline life), or such examples few and far in between? Also, since it does vary from person to person, I’ll add that I personally would not be happy sitting in a sky scraper doing who knows what in a little cubicle, and that it would only be a last resort if there aren’t any aviation specific jobs.

(Also just wanted to add that these are definitely questions to be asked at future college tours, but I would like to hear what actual pilots think, a different perspective. Also, I did meet with the professor and department members, but my questions for them centered more about academic requirements and the sort.)

Dan,

The “Is it worth it?” question comes up a lot. Worth, ultimately, is subjective. If you can find enough reasons to pursue something, then the “worth” could be justified.

If you ask us, we don’t think aviation colleges are a good idea since you’d be putting all of your eggs in one basket. There’s more than one way to get to the airlines. Aviation colleges is just one of many ways. You have to consider all of your options and decide which path is best for you based on what you know about yourself.

Tory

Dan,

This question gets asked daily and ultimately it’s your decision but here’s my take.

Why would anyone get an aviation degree ever? The airlines don’t require it and don’t even prefer it. The only advantage is the possible hour reduction when going for an R-ATP but to me that doesn’t justify the extra time in training nor the exorbitant cost of most aviation degrees. That said the concept of completing your degree and doing your flight training is attractive. My problem is this. Many people who believe they want to be pilots either by choice or circumstance never get there. If that happens what will you do with that aviation degree? You see you can be a pilot with an accounting degree but you can’t be an accountant with an aviation degree. I feel you’d be much better served with a Plan B that can be used should you change your mind or even later when you’re a senior Capt with 20 days off a month and want to start a side business.

Adam

Dan,

I see very little value, if any, to obtaining an aviation degree. The majors do not care what the degree is in, they just want to see a degree. I think yo are far better off getting a degree in something else that interests you so that you have a fallback option should you ever need it. Non pilot jobs with an aviation degree are few and far between.

Chris